Port of Hueneme Director Kristin Decas told AJOT, “We are very busy” after the Port saw a rebound in business following downturns related to the COVID virus in 2020. Decas expects volumes for autos to rise 1% and volumes for fruit to rise 3% over 2020 levels.

The Del Monte Valiant arrives at the Port of Hueneme
The Del Monte Valiant arrives at the Port of Hueneme

Auto Business Up 1%

Decas said, “Our auto business continues to improve and we saw a surge at the end of 2020 that has continued into 2021 following the downturn as a result of the pandemic in 2020…The Port projects auto imports will increase by 1% over fiscal 2020.”

Decas said the Port also has seen a major rise in its container volumes: “When I came to the Port in 2012, we were doing 400 containers per week. Since then, we have grown to 3,000 containers per week in 2021…. The port now has two stevedoring operations. One is run by Ceres and the other by Ports America. Together they operate 5 mobile harbor cranes of which 3 are hybrid-electric.”

New Low-Emission Liebherr Cranes For Ceres

Ceres recently acquired two new cranes, Liebherr – LHM 420 Litronic Mobile Harbor Crane models, which are each equipped with two electric motors installed opposite of the latest generation of Tier 4 final diesel engines, meeting the cleanest emissions standards of the EPA.

According to a Port press release: “Tier 4 engines significantly reduce emissions of particulate matter (PM) and nitrogen oxides (NOx) to near zero levels. Relative to previous emissions standards, Tier 4 engines reduce emissions by over 90%. These new cranes will plug into the Port’s new electric infrastructure coming online later this year.”

Decas said the growth of the container and auto business means that the Port is planning on building a parking garage to house cars before distribution and planning the acquisition of ship to shore gantry cranes to accommodate higher container volumes.

Import Containers of Fruits and Vegetables Growing

Decas said, “The growth of container business comes from Latin America and is composed of fruits and vegetables. Our volumes of fruits and vegetables are coming from Mexico, Central America and South America. These include bananas, avocados and blueberries which primarily come from Peru.”

The Port is seeing an expansion of warehouses outside the Port “and we distribute product to 15 states.”

Total fresh fruit shipments are projected to increase by 3% over 2020 levels, she said.

The container business is being generated by vessels operated by Del Monte, Chiquita and Sea Land.

New Energy-Efficient Del Monte Ships Arrive

On March 19th, the Port welcomed the first of two cutting-edge, energy-efficient Del Monte vessels. These ships are part of a new, six-vessel fleet — all have full cargo capacity of 1,276 twenty-foot equivalent units (TEUs) with 634 plugs for 40-foot-high cube reefer containers. The air-cooled containers will maintain the cargo at specified temperatures,…

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